WASHINGTON, D.C. May 23, 2012, ( – A new Gallup poll shows a record-low number of Americans describe themselves as “pro-choice,” while half call themselves “pro-life.”


The poll, conducted from May 3-6, found only 41 percent of Americans would embrace the “pro-choice” monicker, the lowest level since the company began asking the question in 1995.

Exactly 50 percent said they identified as pro-life, a near-record high.

The results closely track results in May 2009, when 51 percent of Americans called themselves “pro-life” and 42 percent called themselves “pro-choice.”

Since that poll, more Americans have labeled themselves pro-life than pro-choice, a situation Gallup calls “the new normal.”

A majority of Americans believe abortion is immoral, the most recent survey found. Those who believe abortion is wrong exceed those who do not by a wide margin, 13 percentage points (51 percent to 38 percent).

The poll contains some interesting revelations leading into the 2012 presidential election.

For only the second time, more independents identify as “pro-life” (47 percent) than “pro-choice” (41 percent). The Hill newspaper reports Mitt Romney has led Barack Obama among independent voters in 12 of the 14 polls taken over the last two months by an average of 6.5 percent. “That suggests that Romney doesn’t need to pivot dramatically to the center, shed partisan identity or turn his back on the GOP base to gain favor with nonpartisans,” the paper states.

Breakdown among the parties was more predictable, with both parties trending more pro-life.

Pollsters found 72 percent of Republicans were pro-life, one of the highest margins ever, while only 22 percent are “pro-choice,” a record low.

However, the number of Democrats who describe themselves as “pro-choice” has hit its lowest level since 2003 (58 percent). Meanwhile, more than one-third of Democrats, 34 percent, say they are “pro-life.”


The polling company’s longest-running measure of abortion – under what circumstances abortion should be legal – remains little-changed. Since 1975, most Americans have believed abortion should be legal under some circumstances. In this poll 52 percent of respondents held that position, although the poll does not spell out which circumstances they felt justified abortion.

A recent poll from the Charlotte Lozier Institute found 77 percent of Americans oppose sex-selective abortion. Last December, 79 percent of Americans said they supported restricting abortion to the first trimester, and a majority would limit abortion to cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, according to a Knights of Columbus/Marist College poll.

In this month’s Gallup poll, 25 percent of those surveyed believed abortion should be legal in all circumstances; while 20 percent believed abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. 

The poll’s results are a stunning turnaround from the first survey to ask this question. In 1995, 56 percent of Americans described themselves as “pro-choice,” and only 33 percent of Americans were “pro-life.”